Submitted: 05-31-2004 by LakeGoddess
I started kayaking two years ago at a local small (flatwater) lake. The marina rents out these Kiwi Lobos, so it was my first kayak. At first I spent a lot of energy just mastering the basics of kayaking itself. Eventually I got pretty good at it, to the point where I could paddle for an hour and not feel like my arms were on fire. I'm a big woman (5'8", 210 pounds) and found the Kiwi easy to get in and out of. It handled nicely, fast enough for me, not too tippy, went where I wanted it to go, and I never fell out of it. I've gone out with a couple of friends who were kayaking for the first time in Kiwis, and they struggled to keep up with me. That made me think it was the paddler, not the kayak, that was slow! The small size and light weight of this kayak would be a plus. It should be easy to chuck into the back of your truck or stash in the garage.
The main drawback is the uncomfortable seat position and lack of support in the backrest. I could never go more than an hour in this boat because my back was sore by then. I do not have a back problem.
But truth to tell, I never knew what I was missing until I rented a kayak at a kayak store. My goodness, what a difference. I never took down the name of the kayak I used, but it was new, sleek, and fast! Made those old, banged-up Kiwi Lobos feel like bathtubs by comparison. I had a friend come along for her first kayak experience, and she really likd it too. Later, she rented the Lobo, and complained that she had to work very hard to keep up with me in the Lobo, whereas in the other kayak, she felt a lot faster and could keep up with me.
A Kiwi Lobo would probably be an all right choice for a beginner who won't stay out too long, or for kids. If you want to spend more than an hour in your kayak, get something else.